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Issue 57 - 02 | Calling All Corporate Couch Potatoes:
Put Down the Doritos and Get Moving! Or, How Managers Can Succeed in Uncertain Times

By Jeanne Liedtka
Published April 9, 2009 3:47 a.m.
"I am convinced that a good many of the 'survival strategies' that organizations are adopting are just wrong. Tragically wrong. For more than three years, my colleagues and I have been studying a set of managers who successfully grew their businesses in the face of uncertainty and scarcity. And they taught us an alternative path—a road less traveled—that suggests that growth needn’t come with a high price tag and lots of risk. Their approach is custom made for today’s climate of risk-aversion and limited capital. It may sound counterintuitive at first—and you’ve got to be willing to entertain a different view of reality to understand it. But once you’ve wrapped your head around this different worldview—this 'alternative reality'—you’ll wonder why you didn’t see it sooner.


Your biggest challenge is not to find a way to trim another 10% off your work force; it is to make dealing with instability your sweet spot; to hone your ability to leverage surprise and uncertainty rather than just react. In doing so, you just might find a new set of possibilities that wouldn’t exist in a stable, predictable world. Opportunities that you’d never find sitting on that couch.”

About Jeanne Liedtka | Jeanne Liedtka is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Her Columbia University Press books include Solving Problems with Design Thinking (2013), Designing for Growth (2011), and The Designing for Growth Field Book (2013), all from Columbia University Press. Her new book is Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector.


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